Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Litter and Love!

KITTENS!!!!!!! Anyone who knows me pretty well knows that I love animals! That is one of the reasons that I requested to work with animals this year. PAWS is an amazing organization to work for and I am so happy that it worked out! One of the many programs at PAWS is the Foster Volunteer program. As of this afternoon, I am a foster mom to 3 beautiful kittens!! I am so happy that it worked out!! I will have these 3 little babies for 2 weeks before I have to give them back so they can be adopted out. All I have to provide is the litter and the love. :)

Floy is the grey kitty. He is awesome. He was really shy when he first got out of the crate, but now he is fearless! Brock is the black one. He is probably the one out of the 3 that is the most scared of people. But I'll work on that! And Lorin is the black and orange one. She is beautiful and is a purr machine! She has already taken about 3 naps on my lap. She might be my favorite...even though I'm trying really hard to not have favorites.

Ok, now for some pictures!

Brock is a little camera shy...I'll have to get a good picture of just him! Ok, one more picture, then its bedtime. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Denmark Withdrawal

I am going though some major Denmark withdrawal!! Ever since I noticed that Chicago is similar to Denmark, I can't stop thinking about my time abroad! Tonight I was the person who made dinner and I cooked Danish food. :) It was super delicious! And I talked some of my roommates into trying pickled beets. Needless to say, I don't think they enjoyed them. Which is fine by me because now I have the whole jar to myself!

I found a blog online today that has only made my symptoms worse. My Danish Kitchen is written by a woman who is Danish but living in the US with her husband. She has so many delicious recipes that I cannot wait to try out!! And she posted links to companies online that will ship Danish products to the States. I am so tempted to buy some kammerjunkere!!!!!!!! There were a lot of delicious things in Denmark that I ate and loved, but had completely forgotten about until today.

Oh Denmark, one day I will have money and will be able to afford visiting! Until then, I will just have to make due. Good night everyone! It is way past my bedtime and I need to get off the computer before I spend my entire monthly stipend on groceries from Denmark. :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What I Did Today + Room Pictures!

Today I reorganized my room. And I think I like it now...before I was sharing it with another person. But now I moved some stuff around, and it feels more comfortable to me! I will put up some pictures. My room is a little messy though, so no judging! Haha :)

Today we didn't really have a lesson during Elevation. I had planned to talk to the kids about Cain & Abel, but there were only 6 kids. We normally have 30- 35 kids, so I decided that it would be best to wait until the majority of the class was there. Instead we played Never-Have-I-Ever. It was a lot of fun to get to know the 6 kids that were there better. After Elevation, I stayed for the Young Adult gathering, which was a really interesting discussion. We talked about Jesus' crucifixion. Realistically, that isn't a topic that I have spent much time thinking about. I feel like most of the things that we talk about during the Young Adult gatherings are topics that I have never really put a lot of thought into. I definitely think that between the gatherings and the discussions that my house gets into, my beliefs and views are going to be challenged a lot in the coming months.

After the gathering, I wandered around the city. I didn't really go anywhere specific, I just walked around the Loop. The Loop is the area of downtown that is contained within the loop of train tracks that the El makes. There are so many beautiful buildings in Chicago! It was a perfect day outside today, and so I took advantage of the warm weather to just wander and explore.

The Chicago Marathon was today. When I was walking around the city I saw a bunch of people with their medals on. It was really funny because most of them wanted to take off the medal because they felt weird wearing it, but their friends and family members that were with them wanted them to leave the medal on. I could definitely picture me and Rebecca in that situation--me forcing Rebecca to leave the medal on. I congratulated a lot of them, which I like to think made them happy. Running 26.2 miles is no small feat. I don't know that I would go so far as to say that I want to run a marathon one day, but I definitely think I want to run a half-marathon! My only problem is finding the motivation to get to the gym. It is especially hard right now because I keep putting off finding a gym! I know that once winter hits I won't be able to run outside, so I had better get a move on!

Ok, here are some pictures of my room! I will try and upload some more tomorrow morning because I am sure they will turn out better in the natural light.

Week's Goal: Find a gym!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

One Month In...

A month in. I can't believe it! It feels like I've been here both longer and shorter...if that is at all possible. Chicago is amazing! Sometimes I forget that I live here...I get caught up in the mundane, daily task of commuting to work on the El. But then I see something that reminds me, like the family I saw on the train yesterday after church. It was obviously a mother and father visiting their semi-grown up daughter. She seemed to be around my age, probably 25 or so. But the parents were so happy to be on the El! It just reminded me that I am living in a city that people come to for vacation. I don't want to forget that...I also don't want to put off experiencing all that Chicago has to offer until its too late. I mean, my office at Fourth overlooks Michigan Avenue! The view is something that people would probably pay to see. There are so many different neighborhoods, museums, stores, restaurants, parks, etc that I want to see and experience before my year is done.

It's funny. I've been realizing lately that one of the reasons I really like Chicago so far is that it reminds me of Copenhagen. The architecture and city layout are completely different--there were buildings I walked past everyday in Copenhagen that were from the 1300s. And the city was not designed to be on a grid like Chicago. But the people somewhat remind me of Danes. Maybe it is because their winter climate is similar, but I just get the feeling that Chicagoans really appreciate the summer and take full advantage of all the many parks. There was one day that I was in Lincoln Park walking between bus stops on my way from Fourth to PAWS and I just stopped and sat down on a park bench. I was surrounded by beautiful flowers and green grass. All around me were people running, walking their dogs, playing with their kids, and just enjoying the beautiful warm weather. It made me feel like I was back in the Tivoli Gardens! Granted, I don't think that it was ever 80 degrees outside when I was over there, but that's not the point. Now that the weather is getting colder people aren't outside as often. It will be interesting to see if the winter months remind me of Denmark as well. Probably because it was really the only time I've experienced living in a climate where it snows!

One of the other things that I realized recently is that although I tried really hard to not have any expectations, I had them. Everyone warned me that setting the bar too high would only make it harder to enjoy my time in Chicago, etc. But I think it is impossible to start a new chapter in your life without having a few expectations! I had expectations about my roommates, my job sites, the house we would be living in, the neighborhood, what church I would attend and Chicago as a city. For the most part, my expectations were completely off. It has taken me a little while to get used to, but I think I am glad that my expectations were not met. I am far from perfect, but I know that by August I will be a better person because I will have been put into situations that were unexpected. If you live in a world where everything is exactly what you want it to be, then where does personal growth come in? I believe that when we are put in new situations it is God challenging us to grow. When I agreed to accept the call to serve a year in Chicago, I definitely had the expectation that at the end of my time here I would have a clear picture in my minds as to how I am meant to live my life. Aka I thought that I would be able to discern graduate school plans. Based on how this past month has gone, I still have high hopes but I have accepted the fact that I probably will need more time.